30 Jul 2012

Steady earnings season expected

7:11 am on 30 July 2012

An equities analyst is expecting solid but not spectacular results in the forthcoming earnings season.

Craigs Investment Partners head of private wealth research Mark Lister says companies that have not achieved what they expected would have signalled it by now - and not many announcements of that nature have been made.

He thinks earnings for most companies will be in the low-to-middle single digits.

Mr Lister says in the United States, which is well into its June quarter earnings season, topline revenue growth has been lower than expected while earnings growth has exceeded expectations.

Companies that have been able to control costs have been able to squeeze more out of their operations, he says.

But lower than expected revenue growth shows the economic environment is subdued.

"You can't grow your margins and cut costs forever, so that does point to maybe a weaker period going forward unless the economy, globally, ramps up a bit."

Mr Lister says similar trends are appearing in New Zealand, along with a high dollar making it difficult for some parts of the economy.

He thinks companies are in for a steady year ahead but nothing too spectacular, and while there is recovery, it will be slow.

Mr Lister says the investment community will be focusing on Fletcher Building and Chorus in particular.

He says Fletcher Building "could go either way" while the market will be looking at, among other things, what level of dividend Chorus will pay.